Marc Soler has no intention of saying bad things about Movistar, his team of seven years, but he won’t pretend to be unhappy at the Emirates now – Emirates.
“I need new challenges,” he said. “New motivation. I’m grateful for the opportunity Movistar gave me, they made me the driver I am today, but after all these years, I need to change.
“Now I feel more at peace with the confidence they [UAE] gave me and now I will try to make the most of it.”
Eight months into the adventure with his new staff, Soler took his first victory by attacking on the final ascent of the fifth stage of the Vuelta a España and somehow holding back his former breakaway partner .
That’s a stark difference from the time Soler missed the Tour de France five weeks ago because of a stomach problem.
But he always believed he could threaten to win the bike race again, as he did with Movistar, albeit with a lack of consistency.
“I had to leave on the tour, but every time [he played] I showed the level I have and that I can win anytime,” the 28-year-old said.
“Winning like this gives you excitement and motivation, and it helps you move forward. I’m just happy to win and it gives me the desire to keep going.”
The fact that Soler won at half-time was remarkable in itself, as he missed the half-time formation and had to step over from the home side’s solo.
“I didn’t expect this to happen, not after yesterday,” he said, explaining that he felt unwell in stage four. “I wanted to get into the breakthrough, I’ve been fighting for it, but it went, and I couldn’t get there as much as I wanted to get in there.”
Once he made it through, his team boss, Matxín Joxean Fernández from the Greater Bilbao area, asked Soler to offer him a home win, thus encouraging him to attack on the final climb. Once he gets past Groupama-FDJ’s Jack Stewart, Soler just needs to hope he can fend off the chase from behind.
It was a tense finale for the Catalan, whose lead fluctuated between four and 11 seconds in the final 15km in a chase that looked destined to catch him, Just because it failed to come together to bring him back.
“They always talk about this a lot,” he said. “A lot of teams have a lot of Spanish drivers, but a lot of times they have to work for other people. It’s not easy, but we can also win.”